TrueAchievements' Cheater Policy

What is your policy on cheats?

Some sites are quite happy to have game-savers and achievement hackers in their statistics. Here at TrueAchievements, our members have made it clear that they don't want those profiles included within their stats. They want to compare their profiles to other member’s profiles, participate in leaderboards, enter contests, participate in gaming sessions, and more. These site features depend on the inviolability of the statistics. Including profiles with cheated achievements distorts the statistics.

We’ve established a policy that allows us to flag profiles we find guilty of using unfair means to gain achievements and remove them from our statistics. The following paragraphs will explain what rules we base our Cheat Policy on, the process of an investigation, what happens to profiles if they are found in violation of our policy, and finally, explain our Game Removal agreement.

How do you define cheating?

All profiles on site must comply with the following rules:

Things we do not allow:

  • Using profile editors, trainers, or similar software to unlock achievements.
  • Using a save from a different profile (typically referred to as gamesaving).
  • Using a save from a different version or platform (e.g. from Steam to Windows Store) outside of supported game mechanics.
  • Profile swapping, also known as the Second Profile Glitch (SPG), which is the practice of transferring a save or game statistics from one profile to another.
  • Editing or manipulating game files to unlock achievements, alter achievement requirements or to unlock options disabled by developers.
  • Manually adding or editing files in mod-enabled games to unlock achievements or alter achievement requirements.
  • Launching a game with command line arguments (or using software to do it for you) for the purpose of unlocking achievements, altering achievement requirements or to unlock options disabled by developers.

Cheating is not limited to the examples in the list above, but they provide guidance for most situations we can think of today. What is listed here can and will be updated as new forms of cheating are discovered.

Things we do allow:

  • Boosting and other forms of socially collaborating to gain progress in a game. e.g.
    • Playing via system link with your friends.
    • Using accessibility features to play together remotely.
    • Participating in boosting sessions.
  • Manipulating your system date and/or time. e.g.
    • Setting your date to Christmas to get date specific achievements.
    • Setting your system time to midnight so you can experience in-game events and unlock related achievements.
  • Using turbo controllers to automate input.
  • Using in-game tools such as cheat codes or a console that is unlocked by default. e.g.
    • Using console commands in Fallout 3 (PC).
    • Using the Konami code to gain an advantage in-game.
  • Downloading user-generated content via an in-game browser or mod store built into the game.
  • Using exploits or glitches that take advantage of the game’s coding. e.g.
    • Using the rocks on a specific L4D map so the enemies can’t get to you.
    • Using negative XP glitches to exploit rank coding as seen in Far Cry 2.
  • Playing a game prior to its official release date.
  • Playing a developer released version of a game, be it a specific release or a patch.

As with the previous section, this list doesn’t cover everything as that would be exhaustive. They simply cover the vast majority of what we’re asked.

How do investigations work on TrueAchievements?

An investigation into a profile is opened in one of three ways:

  • A profile is deemed suspicious by our artificial intelligence, reported to the Investigations Team and automatically set to Non-Stat tracking.
  • A profile is reported by a user because it seemed to be in violation of our Cheat Policy.
  • A member of the Investigations Team audited a profile and deemed it to be in violation of our policy.

These steps always lead to the Investigations Team getting a report. A member of the team will then conduct a thorough investigation of the profile and compile a report of any irregularities they find. If there are no violations of the Cheat Policy found, the complaint is dismissed. If violations are found, the findings are presented to the profile owner. The profile owner has one week to comment on the report, after which the Investigations Manager may ask the profile holder for additional information. Once all information is gathered, the panel of all investigators will vote on the evidence and defence presented. After this deliberation, the profile is set to the appropriate tracking level.

Please note that all members are volunteers, therefore, this process takes time to complete.

We also value our user’s privacy and want this process to be and remain fair. Hence, we will never make public:

  • The identity of the reporter.
  • The members of the Investigations Team.
  • The report itself (however, the profile holder may request the results be made public.)

We are not infallible! After the Investigations Team has come to a conclusion and profile owners have been informed of our decision, they have the right to appeal for review of their case. The link will be provided in the message informing the profile holder of our decision. Included in the appeal should be why the profile holder thinks we were wrong. Note that rants or statements not making an argument for their case will not automatically result in a review of the case and may be dismissed without further consideration. Each serious appeal for review will be considered by the Investigations Manager and if they deem it relevant, brought again before the Investigations Team.

What happens then?

If the Investigations Team are not convinced that the profile has violated our Cheat Policy, the complaint is dismissed and the profile will retain their previous tracking status. However, if the Investigations Team votes against the profile, it will be moved to one of three different tracking levels on TrueAchievements:

Non-Stat

Profiles that are found to have a small number of cheated games will be placed on Non-Stat tracking. They will have no more than two games on their profile that show signs of cheating.

Profiles placed onto Non-Stat tracking:

  • Continue to have complete game and achievement syncing from Xbox Live.
  • Will not have their Achievements Won and Started Games factored in any site ratio calculations.
  • Still retain TrueAchievement Score and TA Ratio.
  • Will not place on any TrueAchievement leaderboards.
  • Will not show in "Gamers who completed this game" lists or feed items.
  • May be unable to participate in some site events.

Gamerscore Only

Profiles that are found to have less than 10 cheated games and are not eligible for Non-Stat tracking will be placed on Gamerscore Only tracking. These accounts will be marked with the icon icon on their profile page.

Profiles placed onto Gamerscore tracking:

  • Continue to have complete game and achievement syncing from Xbox Live.
  • Will not have their Achievements Won and Started Games factored in any site ratio calculations.
  • Will not have TrueAchievement Score or TA Ratio.
  • Will not place on any TrueAchievement leaderboards.
  • Will not show in "Gamers who completed this game" lists or feed items.
  • Will be unable to participate in most site events.

No Tracking

Profiles found to contain 10 or more cheated games will be removed from our scanners. Additionally, if an account is found to have cheated achievements and has been inactive for over a year, it will be placed on No Tracking to conserve scanner resources, no matter their previous tracking level. Should the profile owner become active again, they can file an appeal for review. These accounts will be marked with the icon on their Gamer Homepage.

  • No achievement tracking at all

Game Removal

The owner of a profile may be given the opportunity to remove a small number of cheated games. Game Removal is not offered automatically, it needs to be requested. This opportunity will be based on an agreement with the profile holder that no further cheating will be found, and that they are willing to have the game removed to retain leaderboard access.

When a game is removed, its TrueAchievement score and any record of its achievements are removed from the profile on TrueAchievements. Game Removal is granted at the Investigations Manager’s discretion.

Profiles with sufficient suspicious activity beyond actionable content will not be granted Game Removal. The statistics will also be removed from any leaderboards for that game. The Investigations Team will only remove up to 1% of the total games played (3 at maximum) from any given profile. For example a profile with 203 games played may only be eligible for removal of two cheated games. Profiles under 100 games played will be limited to the removal of one cheated game. The total count of games played is noted at the time the investigation is published. This is the number used to determine eligibility for Game Removal. As part of the agreement, any cheating that was not detailed by the Investigations Team must be disclosed.

If an account has had any games removed and cheats another game or is found to have cheated additional games in the past, the account may be moved to No Tracking.

Please note that we do not have any power to remove achievements from Xbox Live - that is solely the preserve of Microsoft.